For Chef and co-owner Roger Epres, serving others is a labor of love that runs in his DNA. A devoted family man, he commutes to Surfside daily from Palm Beach if and when his other commitments, a successful catering business, don’t get in the way.
In fact, it was his catering ventures that would ultimately lead to the opening of TYO Sushi, Harding Avenue’s newest kosher Asian restaurant which debuted earlier this year at 9454 Harding Ave. The success of his sushi catering for the Miami HEAT basketball team would eventually spark the idea to open TYO Sushi.
TYO’s first iteration opened several years ago at The Lincoln Eatery on South Beach; the popular food hall helped launch the TYO concept, which fuses traditional skill with modern tastes. Roger’s wife Sheila helps with the marketing and operational side of the business which is just as important as the food itself.
If you’re wondering where the TYO name comes from, the letters stand for Tokyo’s city code.
“When it comes to sushi, freshness is everything. You have to have the best product, no compromises. That’s why I have multiple providers in the area.”
While sushi and Japanese recipes could be considered this quaint eatery’s first love, local influences and pan-Asian flavors round out the well-balanced menu. One of the highlights is the TYO Roll with spicy tuna, avocado and cucumber wrapped with Japanese Hamachi, jalapeno, scallion plus a dash of spicy aioli and black tobiko to accentuate those exotic flavor notes. The crispy rice shared appetizer also incorporated some of these flavors in addition to a crunchy texture while the delicate, bright freshness of the classic tuna and Hamachi nigiris easily passed the basic sushi litmus test.
Insta foodies will appreciate that plates are all served beautifully, elegantly adorned with colorful, fresh flowers.
The shareable entrees round out the TYO experience as our delicious meal culminated with the braised Korean Short Rib. Served sizzling hot on a warm plate, this fall-off-the-bone, infectiously aromatic recipe is a tribute to Seoul, South Korea. Chef Roger recounts that it was during a personal trip with his daughter that he first encountered the recipe – one he instantly fell in love with. After a little bit of research, Chef eventually found just the right version to bring back to the States.
In the few short months since opening, the restaurant has quickly gained popularity within the Surf-Bay-Bal area, which Roger hopes to get even more acquainted with. “I love being a part of a community, participating in events and getting to know neighbors, it’s something I’ve always been drawn to” said Epres. With all the meticulous thought and attention poured into this small Town restaurant, TYO has clearly proven it has all the right ingredients for success .
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